This article was submitted by Brandee Bickle, senior director of governmental affairs at the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates.
It’s a simple fact that legislators vote on bills that can impact credit unions and how they serve their members. In the course of federal and state legislative sessions there are thousands of bills
introduced. Credit unions have a lobbying team that analyzes these bills and speak with legislators to address issues to help protect and promote the industry … but from a credit union perspective, it’s important for the legislators in your district to know your credit union and what you do for the community. These personal connections are key to growing understanding on the issues. And, it’s up to the industry itself to cultivate these connections so that elected officials understand credit unions, what makes them unique, and the issues that are important to them.
So regardless of your political leanings … or if you are interested in politics at all … the people elected are the ones who make decisions on bills that impact what you do and how you serve your members. As such, the time you spend engaging with legislators and building relationships is extremely beneficial to the industry. Relationships are vital in any work endeavor, it’s important to have positive relationships, understanding and communication between your credit union departments and areas to be successful in the long run to help the members that rely upon you. Same is true with legislators, and it is powerful when they view their credit union as the industry, and can connect an issue with someone they know … it truly puts an in-district face on the issue.
So start growing connections with your elected leaders today. When you build these connections, you help invest in your future and tap into a segment of the population that NEEDS to know about credit unions. Think about your elected leaders as a part of the marketplace to build awareness of your credit union; by doing so you will be a part of the collective credit union advocacy efforts to shape the laws that impact the industry.